The Republican National Committee is firing back at Donald Trump’s campaign amid criticism from the front-runner of the party’s nominating system.
After Trump failed to secure any delegates at Colorado’s GOP convention last week and as his delegate slots in a half-dozen other states were infiltrated by supporters of his rivals, the candidate blasted the process as “rigged” and “unfair,” arguing the RNC was trying to keep him from winning. The party fought back Friday morning in a memo, arguing that the system is democratic, even if voters don’t directly elect delegates to the convention.
“It ultimately falls on the campaigns to be up to speed on these delegate rules,” RNC chief strategist and communications director Sean Spicer wrote. “Campaigns have to know when absentee ballots are due, how long early voting lasts in certain states, or the deadlines for voter registration; the delegate rules are no different. Whether delegates are awarded through a primary, caucus, or convention, this process is democracy in action and driven by grassroots voters across the country.”
“They wanted to keep people out,” Trump said of the process in Colorado, where the state eliminated a presidential preference vote in favor of a caucus and convention process. “This is a dirty trick.”
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal published late Thursday, Trump criticized the party and rival Ted Cruz over the situation in Colorado.
RNC chairman Reince Priebus responded to the criticism from Trump on Twitter on Tuesday, after he blasted the party in a CNN town hall.
The memo notes that the delegate-selection rules have been set since Oct. 1, when they were promptly distributed to all the campaigns. It lays the blame for Trump’s losses on his campaign for failing to pay attention to the arcane procedures until it was too late.
“As a party, we believe in the freedom of the states to make decisions about how they will select delegates to the National Convention,” Spicer wrote. “And for decades, this grassroots-driven, democratic process has been transparent and effective.”
Trump faces another likely setback this weekend in Wyoming, where 14 delegates appear to be an easy pickup for the Cruz campaign. Sensing a rough reception, the Trump campaign announced late Thursday that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who was scheduled to address the state’s convention, would no longer attend.